ROSS County chairman Roy MacGregor insists he had no option but to put the wishes of his club’s fans ahead of the rest of Scottish football after vetoing league reconstruction plans.
The Highland outfit and St Mirren opted against backing proposals to revamp the game north of the border at a meeting of Scottish Premier League clubs yesterday. A majority of 11-1 was required to take the issue to the Scottish Football League.
The outcome of the Hampden summit met with anger and disappointment from other clubs, with MacGregor admitting he had a tough call to make.
“It’s a two-pronged thing,” he said. “You are put on to the board as a representative of your club but you’re also a representative of the league system. I’m as sad as anyone with the result because I have another 11 chairmen who are my colleagues and I have to take a look at both the league structure and the club structure.
“If the shareholders, my fans, my staff and directors vote that this was something they didn’t want for the club, it would have been absolute suicide to vote against that, no matter how I felt. Yes, there is a bigger picture but, if your supporters don’t trust you and they don’t see fairness in how they’re trusted, why are you there as a football club?”
The plan included a merger of the SPL and the SFL into a 12-12-18 structure, with the top two divisions splitting into three sections of eight after 22 games.
It also included extended play-offs and money filtered down to the second tier.
MacGregor added: “I have every sympathy, particularly, for the First Division clubs, where the redistribution was going to offer them some more money.
“On the other hand, this is a fans’ game and, if the fans can’t understand what they are buying into at the start of the season and there is no clarity there, I think you’re doing the game a disservice and fans a disservice. It was a bridge too big for Ross County to cross.”
County manager Derek Adams jumped to the defence of his chairman yesterday and backed his club’s stance.
“We had made our voting intentions known to the SPL and Neil Doncaster since January/February time, so it [should have been] no surprise to anybody,” explained Adams.
“We had looked at what was going to be best for the football club and also for Scottish football. There were definitely aspects of the reconstruction plan that were going to be good for Scottish football. But there was no compromise – it was all or nothing. And we really didn’t feel that splitting into three leagues of eight after 22 games was going to benefit the Scottish game or ourselves.
“There was going to be a league of 22 matches and then a league of 14 matches in the same season. That was going to make it difficult to sell season tickets.